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Snow Gum Summit

snow_gum_summit.pngAnnouncement of conference: February 14 – 16, 2025

Snow Gums (Eucalyptus pauciflora) are the classic tree of the Australian High Country. They are profoundly different to the trees found in mountain areas in other parts of the world, and give a uniquely Australian sense to our high country. However, they are facing a double threat to their survival: from fire and dieback.

We are hosting a 'snow gum summit' which will bring together land managers and academics and anyone interested in the future of this iconic species to explore what needs to be done to ensure the survival of snow gum woodlands, and put the issue firmly on the state governments agenda.

We will be inviting First Nations people, local and state wide environmental organisations, local communities and businesses, groups active in outdoors recreation, and enthusiasts of high-elevation, forest ecosystems.  There will be presentations, workshops and field trips.

Snow Gums (Eucalyptus pauciflora) are the classic tree of the Australian High Country. They are profoundly different to the trees found in mountain areas in other parts of the world, and give a uniquely Australian sense to our high country. However, they are facing a double threat to their survival

Firstly, while dieback, caused by a native beetle, is a natural occurrence, it is getting worse and more widespread because climate change is making winters warmer and summers drier and hotter. This is leading to widespread loss of individual trees across the Australian Alps. It has had significant impacts on snow gums, especially in the Snowy Mountains and, increasingly, on the Bogong High Plains.

Secondly, climate change is creating conditions where fires in the high country are more frequent and more intense. In recent decades, climate-fuelled bushfires have devastated huge areas of the snow gum forests. There were significant fires in the Victorian High Country in 1998, 2002/3, 2006/7, 2013 and 2019/20. More than 90% of Snow Gum habitat has been burnt at least once in the last 20 years. New research shows that long-unburnt snow gum forests are now exceedingly rare (comprising less than 1% of snow gum forests in the Victorian Alps). Like most eucalypt species, the snow gum can survive fire. However, climate change is leading to more frequent and intense fire, which is causing more death of trees and changes to forest structure.

While most snow gums in the Australian high country are included in national parks, we are on the verge of losing the landscapes that we spent decades protecting.

 

Getting a handle on the problem – and the solutions

We are hosting a 'snow gum summit' which will bring together land managers and academics and anyone interested in the future of this iconic species to explore what needs to be done to ensure the survival of snow gum woodlands, and put the issue firmly on the state governments agenda.

We will be inviting First Nations people, local and state wide environmental organisations, local communities and businesses, groups active in outdoors recreation, and enthusiasts of high-elevation, forest ecosystems.  There will be presentations, workshops and field trips.

 

The event

The core part of the summit will happen on Friday 14 February and morning of Saturday 15. Dinner Plain is located 10 km from Mt Hotham alpine village, and is about a 5 hour drive from Melbourne, so please plan to come up on the thursday if traveling from a distance. We can assist with ideas on accommodation or camping.

There will be guided walks on the Sunday to areas with special remnants of older snow gum forests, including the Bogong High Plains and Mt Wills.

 

Costs

The event will be catered. Registration costs will be determined as the event is planned.

 

Location

Dinner Plain community centre, Dinner Plain, 3898

 

Further information

For extra information on the program ot to offer a session or other form of involvement, please contact Cam Walker

0419 338 047

[email protected]

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